Why is Sandpoint beating us to this stuff? There is reportedly a new Waterkeeper organization in the works for Spokane, just hasn’t been announced yet. The Waterkeeper Alliance is a national organizartion championed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. If you saw Frontline last night on PBS you know how high the stakes are. Here’s the Sandpoint press release:

Sandpoint, ID – Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper, a new non-profit organization located in Sandpoint Idaho, will respond to and investigate citizen concerns pertaining to water quality in Lake Pend Oreille and the surrounding waters. The water quality hotline number that citizens may report concerns to is 208.597.7188.

Through education, partnership and advocacy, Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper works to protect the water quality of Lake Pend Oreille, as well as to improve the health and viability of the people and ecosystems which rely upon or live close to the water.

“Earth Day 2009 is a very appropriate time to announce our work since water quality impairments are some of the most compelling challenges our planet faces today,” said Jennifer Ekstrom, Executive Director of the organization. “We all rely on clean water and virtually everything we do can affect it. While we are fortunate to live in an area with a plentiful supply of relatively high quality water, we simply cannot take our water quality for granted.”

Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper’s work to protect fish, wildlife and human habitats will focus on efforts to decrease concentrations of nutrients, sediment and toxic pollutants in Lake Pend Oreille and the watershed. The organization’s area of stewardship includes Lake Pend Oreille, the Clark Fork River from Cabinet Gorge Dam downriver to Lake Pend Oreille, and the Pend Oreille River down to Albeni Falls Dam. Also included are all tributaries directly surrounding the water body but excluding the Priest River watershed.

Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper is an autonomous, local organization that is affiliated with the Waterkeeper Alliance, a non-profit organization with international reach. Through that affiliation we have access to resources previously not available to our community. Waterkeeper Alliance supports affiliated groups in scientific, strategic and legal capacities.

For more information visit our booth at Sandpoint’s Earth Day celebration on April 26th, or call 208.597.7188.